Marie Eiffel Market is that rare, traditional French bakery, gourmet grocery store, and delicatessen all in one you will not find anywhere else on the East End. The trip to Marie’s is worth the ferry ride coming from any corner out east and beyond. Once you step inside, you are greeted by friendly staff members who clearly take great care and attention to detail when setting up and organizing the shelves. Ever area inside is neat and efficient. It is very easy to find what you are looking for here. This is the perfect breakfast eatery or luncheonette to come to if you are on the go or wish to relax the afternoon away. Some guests choose to eat out back at their private dockside and enjoy a peaceful marina. Many customers will dock their boats just outside and come in through that back entrance.
The Market is currently in its third season, opening its doors about two and a half years ago and has been booming with business ever since. Though most of Marie’s customers are from Shelter Island Heights and the Hamptons, she receives five star reviews from customers who visit from all parts of New York, New Jersey, the city, and internationally. What is even more incredible about Marie and her shop is how she got started with the quintessential, “All American Dream.”
Marie Eiffel began her career working in Paris. There, she was a Commercial PR Director at a large gastronomic venue. She worked with the best of the best chefs in Paris. Afterward, she came to New York and managed a high-end bistro in Manhattan. Though unfortunately, she got into a car crash in 2002 and spent two years in the hospital. Because of the mounting bills from her hospital stay even though she had good insurance, she became homeless.
It was during that point in her life that she came to live in Sag Harbor and resided in someone’s garage, paying $200/month for a duration of two years. To regain economic stability, an individual lent her the money to put one year’s rent up front for a consignment shop. “It was such a small business but I sold whatever I could including furniture and clothing, but mostly clothing because I had this very little space,” explains Eiffel. “I went to the dry cleaner in Sag Harbor and asked for hangers to hang the clothes because I did not have any money to buy hangers. I pinned the hangers on the wall like a gallery of clothes.”
When she originally came to Shelter Island, she started in fashion. There was a man who would come in to her consignment shop and buy enough merchandise to pay her rent. “Back in 2005, nobody really knew this island,” says Eiffel. “So afterward, I moved my business to a small place up the street, then I opened a store in Sag Harbor with the tremendous help from Bridgehampton National Bank, who was behind me full speed. When this place became available [the Market at 184 N Ferry Rd], I jumped in. People knew me from fashion, but I said that fashion was an accident, this is who I am.”
At Marie Eiffel Market, you will find hard to come by French food brands, yogurts, imported French cheeses, homemade quiches, soups, sandwiches, salads, pastries, chocolates, and artisanal pizzas. All pastries and baguettes are homemade and made on the premises. Beer, juices, lemonade, and organic are also available. You will also find fresh fish, deli meat, organic chicken, and lobster meat.
Eiffel is very particular with what she sells in her market. “First, I taste everything, everything you see on the shelves, every product you see, there is a reason that it is on the shelf. Every pasta, olive oil, cracker, and tomato sauce is what I love. I am totally anal, if it doesn’t taste good, I won’t sell it.”
As I took a tour around the Market, I learned that some yogurts are new and were requested that Eiffel sell them by a customer. Sometimes, she will receive requests for certain food items that are hard to find. Looking at the variety of French imported cheeses, many of which are from high-end cheesemongers in the city, I learned that every cheese Eiffel tries are tasted and approved by her before they are sold.
Literally everything is made from scratch; it is like walking into someone’s gourmet kitchen. The homey details within the market that include the white piano, chandelier, and comfortable seating is like walking into someone’s home. “We had a demand for gluten-free bread but we don’t tell some people that it is gluten-free, and the people won’t [be able to] tell the difference. We have so many compliments pouring in about the bread. During Memorial Day Weekend, the bread was flying off the shelves. We sold 200 baguettes over the weekend, it was a zoo!” exclaims Eiffel.
During my visit, I had the opportunity to try some toasted gluten-free bread, homemade granola, and some pastries including an apple tart and flourless chocolate cake. Eiffel also recently started doing puffed pastries topped with caramel, vanilla or chocolate. Everything tasted as fresh as fresh gets. The flourless chocolate cake was so scrumptious, smooth and luxurious. The bread, exceptional. It was true, I could not taste the difference.
Please see below for some beautiful pictures of some pastries, bread, a lobster roll, and whole fish taken by her husband, Jason Penney. All of these items are available for purchase at the Market.
Eiffel works with an incredible talented team and all of her staff is very responsible. Annabel in particular, is a Pastry chef and brings so much to the table like the amazing puffed pastries topped with vanilla. “I gave her all my recipes like the Tarte Tatin and the Almond Pear tart and the flourless chocolate which are top sellers,” explains Eiffel. “Annabel and myself are a team [and] she treats my business like it is her own. She puts in a ton of crazy hours and we work hand in hand. We like to call each other the ‘mille-feuille sisters.’ We have layers and layers of energy and love for each other and respect.” Annabel will soon become Eiffel’s partner soon. “She is my ‘Right Wing Girl’,” exclaims Eiffel.
All of the sandwiches are popular, according to Eiffel. I had the Organic Meatball and Provolone ($10.50) and my husband had the Organic Egg, Ham and Cheese Sandwich ($6.50). “The reason they are on the board is because they are all bestsellers, people are addicted them,” says Eiffel. “We sell a lot of the hot sandwiches, even when it is warm out. The crab sandwiches are selling like crazy! We make the crab cakes by hand. For the salads, the people love the vinaigrette so much that they are it in bulk. I am in the kitchen all day long, doing cooking trials in the winter. I won’t sell it unless it is unanimously delicious among my staff.”
My husband and I tried the following best-sellers: quinoa tabbouleh, corn salad, and beets which were all very fresh. I loved the hint of cilantro with the tabbouleh. I also brought home and tried her Organic Chicken Vegetable soup ($7.45) that is from another world! Other soups she sells are Carrot Ginger, Butternut Squash (which sells out very quickly), Mushroom, and Fish Stew. Marie Eiffel Market is my new favorite food destination that I look forward to coming back to very soon.
The Market is open seven days a week from 7am to 7pm. Marie Eiffel also does catering for small or large events from open houses to backyard parties. The Market is closed for six weeks through January and February. Eiffel also owns and operates two clothing boutiques, one in Shelter Island and one in Sag Harbor. She opened her first clothing store seven years ago. For more information, please visit http://marieeiffelmarket.com